How to set a thai table

Written by christopher godwin
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How to set a thai table
Thai food is full of rich, fresh flavours. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Thai food has grown in popularity all over the world and many cooks and home chefs have tried their hand at Thai cuisine. While Thai recipes and cooking may take a bit of practice to perfect, setting your dinner table authentically for a Thai meal does not. With a few simple customs and traditions in mind, you can easily set your table for a simple or elegant Thai meal.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bamboo place mats
  • Colourful silk runner
  • Small orchids or other flowers
  • Small glass bowls
  • Bamboo plants in glass vases
  • Chopsticks
  • Forks
  • Large Thai soupspoons
  • Ribbons or decorative string
  • Large bowl with a tight-fitting top

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  1. 1

    Cover the table with bamboo place mats and a colourful silk runner. They serve to protect the table from damage and heat as well as set the mood.

  2. 2

    Fill small glass bowls with water and float a small orchid in each. Place them around the table. This is a Thai custom, especially for special occasions and for honoured guests. If you don't have orchids, use other small, compact flowers.

  3. 3

    Put a bamboo plant in front of each setting in a glass vase. Bamboo plants are considered lucky in Thailand and they are commonly seen in restaurants and homes.

  4. 4

    Do not set out chopsticks unless specially requested. Most Thai tables are set with a fork and a large spoon for liquids, as chopsticks are only used in Thailand for Chinese-influenced recipes. However, if diners ask for chopsticks, it is impolite not to provide them.

  5. 5

    Cover your silverware by wrapping each place setting in a napkin. Tie the napkin closed with a piece of decorative ribbon or string.

  6. 6

    Place a large bowl of rice on the table before you serve any other food. Though jasmine rice is most commonly served with Thai food, many hosts offer guests brown rice as well. If so, use two bowls and do not combine the rice varieties.

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